News & community - History

Why are we called Raptim?

Raptim isn’t a name you hear often. It’s nice to be unique – but as our offices around the world unite (and change their names to Raptim), people are asking… What does Raptim mean?

Our story goes back to 1947, to a time when large parts of Europe were recovering from the devastation of World War II. In Holland, Roman Catholic orders and congregations were worried. As you can read in our history, their missionaries in Africa had not been relieved of duty for years – and new missionaries were eager to head out into the world.

“RAPTIM is a Latin acronym. Romana Associatio Pro Transvehendis Itinerantibus Missionariis”

Transportation was a real problem. There weren’t enough accommodations for passengers on ships, which was the main form of overseas transportation at that time.

So the United Missionaries organized the first humanitarian flight in history – a charter flight to Uganda. Because travel was not the main focus of United Missionaries, they began a foundation. And they named it RAPTIM.

In fact, RAPTIM is a Latin acronym. Romana Associatio Pro Transvehendis Itinerantibus Missionariis. In other words, the Roman Association for the Transportation of Traveling Missionaries.

In Latin, the word “raptim” also means “rapidly”, “swiftly” or “with great speed”. This certainly represents the goals of Raptim Humanitarian Travel. To get people where they are needed most, as rapidly as possible.

Today, Raptim’s mission has expanded from the world of missionaries, to include NGOs and humanitarian and volunteer organizations. Our name still serves us well – as we respond to urgent situations in the timeliest manner possible. And thankfully, air travel has become the norm in the humanitarian world.